What should all graduates know about computers and the information society?

I helped organise a seminar today on what kinds of digital competencies universities should aim to teach students (and lecturers) and I’m meeting so many interesting people across the university. I already knew Knut Melvær from Twitter and his blog, and he’s already blogged about the seminar. I enjoyed hearing Knut Martin Tande, who is vice dean for education at the Faculty of Law, talk enthusiastically about how he’s encouraged many of his colleagues to video record their lectures, and how he uses blogs in his teaching. Torgeir Waterhouse’s talk was engaging as always, Koenraad de Smedt expertly led the final panel debate, and many students and professors had excellent comments and questions.

I wish I had time to blog this properly. I blame it on this twirling girl and her siblings, and on the student papers I had to read this evening, and oh, realising I would much rather swirl with my girl while she’s little than spend all my time thinking about work, interesting as work may be.

The seminar was interesting though. Too many ideas, a little too fragmented, perhaps, but an important topic that we’ll definitely return to at UiB and also one that we’re working on in the DIGIT-committee.

Here is the program. The seminar was recorded by UiB, but the live streaming didn’t work so I’m not sure when it will be available. Livar Bergheim live-streamed it on Bambuser, which works but the quality’s not that great.

One thought that has stuck with me is that the different subjects themselves need to adapt to a digitalised society, both in terms of methods and subject matter. But how does a university ensure that that takes place across the board, in such different fields and with such a wide variety of professors and lecturers? I’ve talked to numerous students from other disciplines (comparative politics, administration science, pedagogy among them) who were working on MA theses on digital topics and felt very unsupported by their home department, with advisors with little knowledge about or interest in anything digital.

Are there systemic barriers to research using digital methods or research on digital issues? One barrier might be lack of tech support or perhaps a lack of knowledge or support from the professors. If most professors are older or simply less excited about a digitalised society, perhaps MA or would-be-PhD students with digital projects are more likely to be turned away or simply receive poor support? You wouldn’t need much of a bias to end up with an anti-digital younger generation of researchers as well.

Obviously many environments at UiB are well-versed in digital methods and know a great deal about research and teaching in today’s thoroughly digital society. One of the benefits of starting this discussion is simply being able to connect more with these people and thus raise awareness throughout the university.

And it seems I ended up blogging it after all, though far less thoroughly than I would have liked.

Update: Here’s a story about the seminar from På Høyden.

29. October 2012 by Jill
Categories: Teaching | Leave a comment

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